Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 15, 2010

Another Day in IDES “Paradise”

Gunther!

Now here’s a first: the retirement-age former owner of a business where I worked ± 5 years is at Illinois Dept of Employment Security, trying to unstick an unemployment claim. As am I… To no avail.

He doesn’t see me, and I don’t want him to. He claimed to have been a millionaire at one time, and I’m sure he was. Yet he is also an unethical idiot, who self-indulgently spent money like water and trashed people’s lives. He refused to be accountable to anyone, the ultimate adolescent male who never grew up. Complete with the messy bedroom, tho with him it was instead his office, and almost every other workspace or table in the building, buried in paper or half-broken equipment.

Funnier still, this Bolivian “Casanova in his own mind” is now flirting with the 23-year-old Filipino receptionist, trying to work her for a lunch date. I don’t know whether to feel more ridiculous for having worked for the guy so long, or more justified and calm in being out of work when even such “professional assholes” and boldface capitalists have their companies going under.

Gunther was the Bill B. of my late thirties (them that know me know who I mean). Are there a lot of these guys ( the users, the narcissists ), or am I just very talented in finding them? All the more reason for me to properly mentor other young men & women… reverse the trend in at least a few cases.

This building feels oppressive: nothing but systemic shame and brokenness (like the case managers’ archaic CRT computers, with no budget or permission to upgrade a statewide information system twenty years out-of-date). , Bad infrastructure, unhealthy and sad people (workers AND claimants), poor communication, general incompetence, and mind-numbing boredom and frustration at every turn. Hard to believe Jesus spends much time here, but I’ll bet He does. He always shows when and where he’s most needed.

I find myself thinking of two plays: Waiting for Godot, and Steambath (a late 70s? absudist comedy about people stuck in Limbo.) In one minute, I will have been here an hour, waiting for one of the midlevel manager drones to get the word from some higher midlevel management drone, on how to handle my very peculiar case.

Another round-peg-square-hole day. And to think I have money taken out of my paychecks to pay for such aggravation.


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